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  • New Guy buying a Live Center

    Well I continue to make some progress getting my small Atlas lathe up and running, as well as self teaching myself how to use it.

    I have got the spindle in my tailstock back to operational, but the Quadro Live Center I have had soaking appears to have junk bearings and no way to open it up and rebuild it.

    I'm going to order a center on Monday. I am assuming that I want a live center and I know that I need a #2 Morse Taper.

    I also know I that I generally prefer not to buy no name Chiwainese products.

    Other than that I know nothing. Anyone care to:

    Recommend a brand or a place to buy?

    Recommend a type or description - for example do I need a long tip, a 60 degree end, something else? Do I need the ones that have the interchangeable ends?

    Thanks much!

    Chris
    All I ask is a chance to prove that money can\'t make me happy.

  • #2
    HEY.....What happened to "Old guy buying a live Center"?

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    • #3
      Enco (www.use-enco.com) has east European (Skoda, Bison and others)
      live centers that are in the $25-50 range that are quite nice. Carbide tip is a nice addition but adds a lot to the price and for occasional use is probably not essential, just nice. One big factor in my experience is the size of the head in relation to the length of the point, and the point diameter. I found that using an MT2 center in an MT3->MT2 adapter was very helpful in doing threading on items less than 5/8" in diameter, you have to be careful in tool setup and angles to avoid hitting the bearing housing on some live centers unless the center sticks out a ways and is narrow. OTOH larger work needs a beefier live center, but most of us aren't turning 6" OD 18" long steel bars.
      The kits have the narrow and wider centers as options and are an option but I suspect you will do ok with just the MT2 standard center. I use the pipe centers once in a blue moon, and my standard MT3 center only 2-3x in a blue moon compared to the MT2 center in the adapter. An Armstrong post has a bit more clearance than a QCTP in regard to the bearing housing. 60D angle is what most center drills give you.
      Last edited by sch; 09-09-2006, 10:59 PM.
      Steve

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      • #4
        I've bought from Travers https://www.travers.com for several years, and have always been satisfied with their service.

        A couple weeks ago I got a SKODA live center, #2 Morse taper, for 59 bucks from Travers. As far as I can tell, it's OK, but I haven't used it much yet. I think it will be just fine for my needs.

        I have learned with Travers that they will often send stuff out UPS 2nd day, and charge for it. I asked them to stop, and the lady taking the order made a note on my customer info to the effect that they should only ship UPS Ground unless I request otherwise.

        Another thing I like is that if an item is backordered, my credit card is not charged until that item is shipped.

        It would be nice to just stop by the local branch of that national industrial supply house that starts with a "G" but they seem to enjoy being hard to get along with, so I don't mess with them and they don't mess with me.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by john hobdeclipe
          I've bought from Travers https://www.travers.com for several years, and have always been satisfied with their service.

          A couple weeks ago I got a SKODA live center, #2 Morse taper, for 59 bucks from Travers. As far as I can tell, it's OK, but I haven't used it much yet. I think it will be just fine for my needs.
          .

          John,you might want to check the lube in that Skoda,mine at work came dry from the factory,it didn't live long as a result,proprietary bearings in that one too.

          Bison offers the most bang for the buck,as good as Royal at half the cost.

          The Taiwan centers are okay,but Chinese made centers suck.
          I just need one more tool,just one!

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks again for all the input so far. For all the folks who get tired of seeing the same repetitive question from new guys, I appreciate your patience.

            I did also search past posts for an hour or so as well.

            I'm going to try one from Enco. They have a Bison for $44.95 right now, or a Skoda for $48.45. I'm just going to go a basic one and save some money for a steady rest down the road.

            Chris
            All I ask is a chance to prove that money can\'t make me happy.

            Comment


            • #7
              Tried ebay yet? I got a nice new mt1 live center for under $25 for my Atlas, I assumed it was shop made but I guess it could be imported. The seller had some kind of small machine tool business, if you need I can look up the nme.

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              • #8
                I seems that 99% of the time I find myself using a regular half point center. A dab of oil does the trick.
                Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.

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                • #9
                  Yes I have watched eBay for a little while, but haven't seen what I was after yet.

                  Got a stupid question maybe, but what is a "regular half point center"?

                  Thanks,

                  Chris
                  All I ask is a chance to prove that money can\'t make me happy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey, Wierdscience, thanks for the warning about the lube in (or not in) the Skoda live center. I'll check that before I use it again.

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                    • #11
                      I have been using my Skoda #2 live center on my atlas/craftsman lathes for over 20 years. If I remember corectly the instructions that came with the center said to check the lubrication before using. I open mine up to add some wheel bearing grease about every 2 yrs. I also made a fitting to inject grease in the large end.

                      Frank

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by corvin1
                        Yes I have watched eBay for a little while, but haven't seen what I was after yet.

                        Got a stupid question maybe, but what is a "regular half point center"?

                        Thanks,

                        Chris
                        Here's what a Half Center is.
                        Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Thanks Tinkerer.

                          Believe it or not Google doesn't come back with one pertinent hit on " half point center", so I appreciate you coming back and answering my question.


                          As you appear to use 'dead' centers I'll ask you: other than cost, why do you choose a dead center over a 'live' one? What applications need it?

                          What is the special purpose of a half center? Does it make it easier to face the end of the workpiece?

                          Chris
                          All I ask is a chance to prove that money can\'t make me happy.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yes it allow the facing of the work. Unless your running high speed they are not really needed. But its just a matter of preference.
                            Wow... where did the time go. I could of swore I was only out there for an hour.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The cut away is positioned on the side nearest the operator so that a facing tool can be run in to (or almost to) the center drill hole. You just need to make sure you make the hole large enough, and it still takes an appropriately shaped tool.

                              From what I’ve read and think I understand on the matter of live vs. dead centers:

                              Dead centers can easily gall the work and require careful control of pressure seating the center. They require attention to lubrication and may require stopping longer operations to re-lube the center as well as dealing with heat expansion changing the seating pressure. The lead drill on the center drill provides a bit of a reservoir, but heat and centrifugal force can easily cause it to dry out and ruin your day. In days gone by, lead based lubes were use that held up better than most of what’s available today, or so I’m told. And older lathes even had a "dauber" in the tail stock for keeping the lube lose at hand, though often the only thing remaining these days is the hole filled with crud...

                              On the up side, dead centers are cheap, very stable and constant in location; generally providing the best choice for very accurate work.

                              Live centers are often preferred for several reasons, particularly on longer operations where re-lube might be a problem. Only the very best of the live centers provide accuracy achieved by even shop made centers, and those are expensive. However, even (relatively) inexpensive modern live centers are often quite good enough for the vast majority of work and most folks seem to prefer them just for convenience.
                              Last edited by BadDog; 09-11-2006, 01:18 AM.
                              Russ
                              Master Floor Sweeper

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